26th January, 2010
What hope is.
What hope is not.
THE GIFT OF HOPE: To have hope means having the certainty of the light of Christ in your life. PICTURE: Gavin Mills (www.sxc.hu)
"Hope can carry a Christian through the day-to-day business of life with a confidence that God will sort out meaning and finality in any given circumstance, good, bad or indifferent."
What hope is.
What hope is not.
I decided to go for the piebald effect with this word piece and trust that in doing so it will illuminate a sharper portrait.
Firstly, hope is energy astir guided by a perceived, or more accurately received, reality which will materialise.
Hope is not anchored by possibility. That would be too open to wavering. It’s anchor is a more limpet like certainty which is fixed to The Rock, Christ our foundation, our salvation.
Foundational to a Christian’s received reality is seeing God active in creation, unfolding a salvation plan both intimate and intrinsically good, as is He.
This revelation has the capacity to carry a Christian beyond the immediate and short term, a characteristic essential in the seasons of life when there is a valley cast in shadow to be traversed.
And this is the power of hope. It can carry us beyond trials, testings and tribulations. Shadowy valleys are to be walked through. Pre-dawn blackness is simply a known harbinger to dawn. So hope becomes the next step taken and the next step taken and the next step taken with a sureness that comes from pilgrimage with Jesus.
Hope is far more significant than some short term band-aid treatment with which we might try to patch up our troubles.
The instant cure, the casual glib answer, the appeal to intellectual explanation all cast a shadow in their own image across the hard times in life. But, hope burns bright with an eternal reality, a reality that stays with us to our last breath.
Hope is not a lazy fatalism, a shrug of the shoulders and an; “Oh, well. I cannot do anything here but God can.”
With hope all things are given over to God. Hope watches. Hope prays. Hope remains alert.
With hope there is a readiness for action alongside a willingness not to strive so that it is God who is given the glory in the sorting through of a situation or circumstance.
Hope can carry a Christian through the day-to-day business of life with a confidence that God will sort out meaning and finality in any given circumstance, good, bad or indifferent.
Hope is not a front for smug spirituality or some naive goofiness feeding on a daydream that can be summed up in a plastic smile.
Hope takes the sting out of worry and drains the adrenalin from a knee-jerk desperateness. Hope breathes peace.
Hope does not ignore suffering nor embrace it or suggest we should just put up with it. Hope lifts our head so we see beyond...
Hope is not anaesthesia for pain or tedium. Hope lets go of the situation and embraces God. Hope gives space for God to do things His way in His time.
Hope, faith and love together declare God will do what He said He will do.
We all need hope, not just sympathy and someone’s prescription on how to deal with or turn a situation.
Hope is 20/20 vision, an enabling to see the full palate of the landscape even if we do not have short term answers.
Hope will not necessarily offer explanations.
Hope stands firm on the Father, in the Son, and lives through the Holy Spirit’s impartation.
Ultimately God is a redemptive God, not a vindictive arbiter of the law. The way of the pilgrim Christian leads to valleys made straight and mountains brought low.
Hope says work out your salvation with fear and trembling. On the surface this may appear to be a contradiction. Simply put, it is saying stay fixated on His grace and His resurrection. You will not want to miss a full portion of either and hope says you won’t.
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